When I woke up on Sunday morning, I wondered if all the upsets really happened the night before. Did Florida State really demolish the 3rd ranked Clemson Tigers in Death Valley? Did Ole Miss beat 6th ranked LSU, the team many thought had the best chance to upset Alabama? Did 7th ranked Texas A&M really get beat by an Auburn team that went 0-8 in the SEC last year? Did Tennessee and Vanderbilt really take down 11South Carolina and 15Georgia, the two teams that have dominated the SEC East in the past couple years? The answer to all of these questions is yes. Yes, 7 teams in the top 15 got beat the day before the first BCS standings came out. Yes, 4 of the 7 were beat by unranked teams. This was one of the biggest weekends in college football that I can remember. And I only got to see one game. I’ll get into that later, and the only thing I would do differently given the chance would be bringing more TVs.
Weekends like this are why I love college football. It doesn’t matter how good of an analyst you are, or how good a team is supposed to be. The game comes down to the players. To who has put in more work, both mentally and physically, and who wants it more. And, who doesn’t love rooting for the underdog?
How I Fared: I was 2-6 in week 8, and considering what happened, I am pleased. This brings my total to 31-17 overall. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. If weeks like this past one mean I don’t pick another game correctly, that would be just fine with me.
5Florida State 51 3Clemson 14; As you can see by the score, this was not a close game, and the score was 51-7 until :13 left in the fourth quarter. I don’t know if anyone really saw this coming. I’m sure many predicted Florida State to win, but I doubt they saw a blowout. No one really thought Florida State would blow out Maryland either. I think there is some credit due to the Seminoles. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Florida State jumped Oregon and is now ranked 2 in the BCS. Many think this is unfair to Oregon, but I’m not one of those people. I believe Florida State has proven themselves as a strong team. That’s not saying Oregon isn’t strong, because they could probably beat almost everyone, but if they take down a top 10 conference foe, aka Stanford, then we’ll have this debate. And Oregon, remember what happened when you wanted Auburn . And remember what happened when Notre Dame said they wanted ‘Bama. Now I have completely gotten off topic. Back to Florida State and Clemson. I guess no one told the Seminoles it was hard to win in Death Valley. Florida State QB Jameis Winston was 22/34 for 444 yards, 3TD in the air, one on the ground, and an INT. Clemson QB Tajh Boyd was only 17/37 for one TD and 2INTs. Sammy Watkins was held to just 68 receiving yards and a TD. The Tiger’s only other score came on a rush TD by Cole Stoudt. Florida State made a statement that they are the ones to beat in the ACC.
Ole Miss 27 6LSU 24; How did this even happen? Wasn’t LSU supposed to upset the Tide? I guess that can still happen. But Ole Miss was shut out by ‘Bama, and if Ole Miss beat LSU, does that mean Alabama is going to crush the Tigers from Baton Rouge? I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s focus on the game that has already been played. What I learned is this: beware the Rebels at home (ok, and on the road too). This is the second week in a row Ole Miss has played a top 10 team in Oxford. Last week, A&M barely got out with a win on a last second FG. This week, LSU got taken down by a FG with 2 seconds to go. Texas A&M’s defense (or lack thereof) made it easier to understand how close the game was. But LSU has a pretty good defense. Ole Miss was able to score on both, so the Rebel’s offense must be pretty good. I think their defense is somewhere in between A&M and LSU. LSU didn’t make it easy on themselves. Zach Mettenberger threw 3INTs, 2 in the end zone and 1 at the Ole Miss 10 yard line. Despite these errors, LSU was able to tie the game with a little more than 3 minutes to play. This TD was set up by a blocked FG. But Ole Miss K Andrew Ritter was able to hit a 41 yard FG with 2 seconds left. This wasn’t enough time for the Tigers to pull off a miracle. Ole Miss’ record does not do them justice. They do have 3 losses, but all came to teams currently ranked in the top 16 of the BCS.
24Auburn 45 7Texas A&M 41; There are 2 SEC teams in the top 10 of the BCS poll. There is also an SEC team at 11, and that team is the Auburn Tigers. They have already surpassed last year’s record of 3-9 and 0-8 in the SEC. Auburn is 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the SEC with wins over Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Texas A&M, and the only loss coming to LSU. Texas A&M now sits at 5-2 overall and 2-2 in the SEC. This is not what I thought would be the case as we enter the second half of the season. This game confirmed my thoughts about the Aggie’s lack of defense. Auburn was able to run all over Texas A&M, gaining 379 yards on the ground. QB Nick Marshall accounted for 100 yards and 2TDs, Tre Mason had 177 rushing yards and the game winning TD with 1:19 to play, and Cameron Artis-Payne ran for a TD as well. On the other side, Johnny Manziel did what Johnny Manziel does. He was 28/38 for 454 yards, 4TDs and 2INT along with a rush TD. All 4 pass TD went to Mike Evans who ended up with 287 receiving yards. Maybe the biggest news besides the upset is that Johnny Manziel got hurt. Manziel went down with an injury to his right shoulder. He came back, but was in pain. According to head coach Kevin Sumlin, Manziel is “hopeful” for Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt.
UCF 38 8Louisville 35 (Friday); At the beginning of the season I said Louisville would probably go undefeated because they didn’t have a tough schedule. They aren’t undefeated anymore, but this might be a blessing in disguise. The pressure to go undefeated and being perfect is now gone, and Louisville still has a pretty good chance of making it to a BCS game. UCF very nearly beat South Carolina earlier this year and after Friday’s upset, is now ranked 23 in the BCS poll. Halfway through the 3rd quarter, Louisville took its largest lead of 28-7. UCF then scored 24 unanswered points and led Louisville until 3 minutes to go when Dominique Brown ran 15 yards for a TD. 3 minutes is a long time, and UCF used almost all of it to drive and score the game winning TD with 23 seconds left. Louisville made it to UCF’s side of the field, but just didn’t have enough time. Louisville QB and Heisman hopeful Teddy Bridgewater was 29/38 for 341 yards and 2TDs. It will be interesting to see how Louisville reacts to the loss and if they will be able to bounce back.
13Stanford 24 9UCLA 10; This game turned out how I thought. Stanford got a win at home, helping them climb the polls, and also rebounded from their loss to unranked Utah. This was UCLA’s first real game, and showed they might have been overrated. The Bruins are still ranked in the top 15, but they will need to win some big games to get a chance at the BCS. Stanford QB Kevin Hogan was 18/25 for 227 yards, a TD and an INT. Devon Cajuste had 109 receiving yards and Tyler Gaffney rushed for 171 yards and 2TD. UCLA QB Brett Hundley was 24/39 for 192 yards, a TD and 2INT. The TD was caught by Shaquelle Evans.
Tennessee 23 11South Carolina 21; We got a glimpse of how good Tennessee is when they took Georgia to OT a couple weeks ago. Tennessee was able to capitalize in Knoxville this time around. This win ended the Volunteer’s 19 game losing streak against ranked opponents. But, South Carolina did not go down without a fight. The Gamecocks scored two TDs in the 3rd quarter to take the lead. Tennessee’s kicker Michael Palardy hit a 33 yard FG to cut the lead to 1 point. Palardy was also able to connect on a 19 yard FG as time expired to lift Tennessee over South Carolina for the huge upset. South Carolina QB Connor Shaw sprained his ankle and had to leave the game. The Gamecocks did not respond well after their big win over Arkansas. Any other week, this game would be the headline, but because of all the other upsets, it is not getting the coverage. Both of these teams face top 5 opponents next week. Tennessee goes to 1Alabama and South Carolina goes to 5Missouri. Will either team have a chance to pull the upset?
14Missouri 36 22Florida 17; Where did Missouri come from and didn’t they lose their star QB? Luckily for the Tigers, they had another pretty good QB waiting in the wings behind James Franklin. Redshirt Freshman Maty Mauk was only 18 for 36, but those 18 completions added up to 295 yards and a TD. Mauk also rushed for a TD. Not bad for his first collegiate start. But the star for Mizzou was the kicker, Andrew Baggett, who was 5/5 on FGs. That is both a good and bad thing. It is good because, obviously, he didn’t miss. It is bad because that is 5 times Missouri didn’t score a TD. On those 5 drives, Missouri made it to the Florida 25,1, 21, 16, and 10 yard lines. Florida’s biggest play came when Solomon Patton ran back the second half kickoff 100 yards for a TD. Florida has been unable to score in the past few weeks, and the Gators have a bye week to try to fix their problems on offense. Mizzou will get a South Carolina team looking to steal a shot at winning the SEC East.
Vanderbilt 31 15Georgia 27; Georgia’s injuries have taken a major toll. Vanderbilt took control in the 4th quarter after going into it down 14-27. Aaron Murray had a very uncharacteristic game, going 16/28 for 114 yards and an INT, but he had 2 TDs on the ground and is now the SEC leader in total offense, surpassing Tim Tebow. The other TD came when Shaq Wiggins picked off Austyn Carta-Samuels and took it back 39 yards. Carta-Samuels was 12/20 for 111 yards, but was injured and left the game. Patton Robinette was 9/15 for 107 yards and an INT, as well as rushing for a TD. Kicker Carey Spear also ran a fake FG in for a score. Georgia is having a tough time trying to overcome injuries. Will things get better before they get worse? The Bulldogs have a bye this week, hopefully they will get some healing in.
1Alabama 52 Arkansas 0; Remember when I said I would tell you why I didn’t see any of the upsets? Well, here is what I got to do this weekend. If you read the preview for this week, you saw that I was going to Tuscaloosa to see Arkansas play the Crimson Tide. And based on the score a few lines up, you might think I didn’t have a good time. You would be completely wrong. That was one of the coolest weekend trips I have been on. We left Fayetteville at 2am on Saturday morning. It was raining and cold. After a breakfast made for champions at McDonald’s my roommate and I watched “Roll Tide/War Eagle” on my computer(if you haven’t seen it you are missing out), and we arrived in Tuscaloosa at about 1pm. It was a beautiful drive. I got off the bus and was in awe. The University of Alabama campus is beautiful. And huge. After finding our designated tailgate spot (sectioned of with caution tape) and learning what time we needed to be back for food, my roommate and I went exploring.
I’ve seen Nick Saban in person, that is definitely a life size poster.
Like I said, beautiful. And we hadn’t even gotten into the stadium yet. I would also like to make a point of thanking all the Alabama fans I met on the trip. They were very hospitable and friendly. They seemed very glad that we had taken the time to come all the way to the game. Ok, now time for my favorite part of the trip: the gorgeous and giant Bryant-Denny Stadium.The scope of this stadium is mind blowing. We sat at the top, the very top, so we could see everything. There were only 8 rows behind us. Now, I love DWRRS with all my heart, I really do, and it is my favorite stadium ever. But wow. 101,000+ fit in here. And it was sold out. Attendance was 101,821(max capacity). It was amazing to be there. Even though I was fan from the visiting team, I felt welcome. I am so glad this team is a representative of the SEC and it shows how great college football can be. Thank you to everyone at Alabama for having us in your beautiful city and stadium. This was the first time I had been to an away game, and it was an experience I will never forget, and one I hope to have again, but maybe with a little bit of a closer game.
2Oregon 62 Washington State 38
4Ohio State 34 Iowa 24
10Miami(FL) 27 North Carolina 23 (Thursday)
12Baylor 71 Iowa State 7
16Texas Tech 37 West Virginia 27
17Fresno State 38 UNLV 14
18Oklahoma 34 Kansas 19
Arizona State 53 20Washington 24
21Oklahoma State 24 TCU 10
23Northern Illinois 38 Central Michigan 17
25Wisconsin 56 Illinois 32
Notre Dame 14 USC 10
BYU 47 Houston 46
Georgia Tech 56 Syracuse 0
Wake Forest 34 Maryland 10
Minnesota 20 Northwestern 17
Michigan 63 Indiana 47
East Carolina 55 Southern Miss 14
Toledo 45 Navy 44 2OT
Colorado State 52 Wyoming 22
Boise State 34 Nevada 17
Arizona 35 Utah 24
Oregon State 49 California 17
ULL 37 Western Kentucky 20 (Tuesday)
Stats and Scores from ESPN.com
I’ve never heard someone so excited to be in the nosebleeds: “…only 8 rows behind us.” So glad to hear you had such a great time. Your attitude is inspiring. Happy to hear also that the ‘Bama fans were hospitable. I don’t think they treat Auburn fans the same way.
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Glad you had fun at the Bama game. Your writing gets better every week.